Feature Article

December 05, 2012

Mobile Service Providers 'Joyn' Together to Combat Messaging Apps

A new challenger has appeared to Apple’s iMessage, and other smartphone messaging apps, coming from Spain’s three biggest providers of wireless services. Telefonica’s Movistar, France Telecom’s Orange, and Vodafone, have all launched the Joyn service, which offers free messaging, and even free calls.

Wireless providers have been losing SMS revenue, due to services such as WhatsApp sending messages instead. Thus, Joyn will looks to combat those apps, returning text message superiority to the companies offering wireless services, to return a larger piece of the global SMS pie.

In Spain, paid-for text messages have been on a serious decline; the cost of texting has just been too expensive, resulting in increased sales of more affordable messaging apps.

Even officials are using WhatsApp to cut their mobile costs.

With Joyn, users can send videos and pictures over their smartphones. In some cases, it will even offer free calls, although the specific details of those situations have not been revealed, so I can only speculate.

Joyn is currently available for Android phones, with an iPhone version to be made available soon. More telecom companies, both in Spain and globally, are expected to offer the service as well.

In the U.S., providers such as AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon are still doing well, as WhatsApp and other such social networking-based services have not caught on to the same extent.

Still, Apple’s iMessage has posed something of a threat, to a smaller degree. In that regard, Verizon Wireless has fought back with a “Share everything” plan, providing unlimited calling and texting among multiple devices.

Whether other providers will try the same has yet to be seen.

When it comes to messaging, the winners will be those that are the most affordable and connect with the most people. Traditional text messages that connect phone-to-phone are useful, since most mobile phones are equipped for that, but are proving to be costly on some plans.

Thus, apps that might not have the same reach, but are still far more affordable, are becoming more popular – especially if they can connect to mobile phones and online messaging services.

It will be a tough battle, but the consumers will choose the winner.

Edited by Braden Becker

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